I have done some harmonic analysis on Francisco Tárrega's “Recuerdos De La Alhambra”, as you can see below. Most of it makes sense to me, but there are sections in measures 9-12 and 17-19 that the chords don't move in a way that makes sense to me. Can someone please explain to me the harmonic theory there?

measures 1–8

measures 9–20

  • 2
    A harmonic analysis should tell a "big picture," as well as perhaps small pictures, and isn't just about finding a chord name for every moment, but about finding the role of a group of notes. Measures 9 and 10 both start with an F chord. We haven't really "gone anywhere" in the last beat of m 9; you could think of it as "still an F," but with the two passing tones of B and G. The last beat of m. 10 is another matter though, and I'm still thinking about it... Aug 24, 2021 at 21:16
  • I should point out that I am a plectrum player, so in a few spots I have written an incorrect inversion, but it is because I am using a chord shape that would allow me to strum the guitar and sound only the needed notes. In those cases the bass note serves to deaden a string, but I do not sound it for this song. So, for example, I play the first E7 in the song with my ring finger on G# on string 6, to practice getting into that position. Aug 25, 2021 at 16:27
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    Noted, though I assume the point of your analysis is to better understand that harmonic "big picture." Actual implementation often leaves out (or adds) a note, but the benefit of analysis to performance is knowing where we're going and why. Aug 25, 2021 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


Measures 9 – 12

Measure 9 and the first two beats of Measure 10 are just one long F major chord. The apparent CM7 is just a passing chord, meaning that it serves the purposes of connecting the harmonies on either side but isn't itself considered as affecting the harmony.

The G7/D chord in measure 10 is better analyzed as a Bdim/D chord. It's use here is as a common-tone chord. It shares the note B with the E chord that's coming up. For more information see A chord progression from Leavitt: how to analyze the diminished chord

Measure 11 is analyzed as an E chord (in root position, not /G#). The A at the beginning of the measure is an accented passing tone, delaying the arrival of the G#. It also could be viewed as a sort of suspension of the A from measure 10. If you really want to name it as a chord, it would be Esus4.

Measure 12 is an E7 leading back to A in Measure 13. The initial chord in Measure 13 is just A. The b9 is an accented upper neighbor, just there for color and not considered part of the overall harmonic analysis.

Measures 17 – 19

Measure 17 is still a Dm chord, continued from Measure 16. The E is another accented passing tone, as in Measure 11. The B is also serving a primarily melodic function rather than a harmonic one, but you could call the chord Dm6 if you want.

Measure 18 contains an Faug6 chord. The purpose of the chord is that the F resolves down to E, and the D# resolves up to E. (The expected resolution of an F7 chord would be to a Bb chord, with the Eb resolving down to D). "Augmented sixth chords" are explained in various posts on this site: for example, How does this chord work in the progression?.

Measure 19 is all one E chord, with an accented passing tone C on the first beat.

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